The manufacturers of the equipment and production lines that are needed to produce solar cells and modules are an important segment of the overall value chain in the solar PV sector as a whole. These companies are making a wide variety of equipment that finds use in the manufacture of solar cells, ranging from tradition semi-conductor manufacturing equipment that has grown out of the computer semi-conductor industry, to more exotic things like specialized inkjet printers and lasers. Who are these US based solar photovoltaic equipment manufacturers and how are they fairing in the global recession of 2009?
After a run of some years of heady double digit growth the Solar PV sector in the US has hit a period of slower growth in which some of the weaker players are being shaken out of the market. This year will be characterized by consolidation as more successful firms and better capitalized firms build their market share and absorb weaker players. This shakeout was inevitable and is natural, but it was undoubtedly triggered by the financial crash of late 2008 coupled with the bursting of the oil futures speculative bubble and the temporary collapse in prices on the oil spot markets.